By now, you have become acquainted with LaVar Ball, the loud, self-promoting father of Lonzo Ball, a star at UCLA and a future first-round pick in this year's NBA Draft. He also has two other sons playing in high school, and has created a brand around all three. In short, Lonzo Ball wants to take over the world with his sons and make a billion dollars on a shoe deal with them. He's said if he can't do it with any of the big three—Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour—he'll do it on his own.
Yesterday, at SportsBusiness Daily's World Congress of Sports event in California, Nike's global basketball sports marketing director George Raveling—who might be feeling squeezed by Ball—said LaVar was the worst thing to happen to basketball in 100 years.
A lot of things have happened in basketball over the last century. Many of them have been far worse than a loud parent trying to get his kids (and himself) paid. Here are just some of those things that have happened since 1917:
- Black players were not permitted in the Big Ten and many other major college basketball programs until 1947.
- Former Baylor coach Dave Bliss slandered one of his former players, Patrick Dennehy, baselessly calling him a drug dealer after hewas murdered by his teammate. Bliss resigned when it was determined he made up the story to deflect blame.
- Professional players went into the stands during a game and brawled with fans.
- An NBA team was owned by a known virulent racist for 35 years. He was only forced to sell the team—for a massive profit—after he was caught on tape saying racist remarks to his mistress.
- This man still owns an NBA team:
- Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for physically and verbally abusing his players.
- The 1978-79 Boston College basketball team colluded with gamblers to fix games.
- An NBA official was sentenced 15 months in federal prison for giving a professional gambler insider tips on games he refereed.
- This happened.
- In 1996, the film Space Jam was released.
We could go on, but anyway, congratulations to Adidas and the Ball Family and their future business relationship.